Health and Social Care Level 2 courses are the first step for many people starting out a career in social care. Formerly the NVQ Level 2 Health and Social Care, the recognised standard has now become the Level 2 Diploma.
While established induction standard the Care Certificate is usually completed within the first 3 months of starting work, Level 2 Health and Social Care Diplomas can be standalone one-year courses or delivered in-work as an apprenticeship.
As you will read further down the page, these two learning standards are also linked to one another.
Awarding bodies and recognised courses
To ensure you enrol on a recognised course, you should look for a course underwritten by an awarding body. Awarding bodies such as NCFE CACHE or City and Guilds are in turn recognised by OFQUAL in the UK which regulates all qualifications. Some online courses claim the title of ‘care diploma’ but are not actually accredited, so some caution should be taken here. It’s worth finding a genuine course provider for obvious reasons. If you’re looking to progress onto Level 3 courses and into careers such as nursing, it’s essential.
CACHE Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care
One such accredited health and social care level 2 course is the Level 2 Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care from NCFE CACHE. This Diploma is a ‘nested’ qualification, which means it can be started with a smaller course which is counted towards it.
These courses are the Level 2 Certificate in Health and Social Care and the Level 2 Extended Diploma.
This can be useful for those looking to spread the cost of their courses, or to try a smaller course before committing to a longer one.
The Level 2 Certificate is a short course comprising only 3 units, while the extended diploma is 7 units in duration and typically takes around a year to complete.
Is NVQ Level 2 health and social care still relevant?
Although the NVQ Level 2 health and social care is obselete and has largely been superseded by Diploma qualitifications, it is still recognised by and valuable to employers.
The NVQ Level 2 health and social care and other NVQ qualifications had a lifespan of over a decade, and you should have problems using these legacy qualifications if your experience and CPD is up to date.
How do the diplomas compare to the care certificate?
Although it can involve some written work, many course providers for the care certificate including CareTuition deliver the course with mostly multiple choice questions. The health and social care level 2 courses require some longer written responses, but many of the tests can use the same familiar format.
What can I do with a health and social care level 2 course?
Courses such as the Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social care are recognised by UK employers as the replacement to the long standing NVQ Level 2 Health and Social Care. They are of great benefit when applying for jobs in the UK, including those with visa sponsorship.
From Health and Social Care Level 2, you can first progress to Level 3. NCFE CACHE provides a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care which follows the same nested format and again offers an extended option.
The Level 3 can be a gateway to degree level University courses such as nursing.
What about the entry requirements?
For Level 2, the entry requirements are generally a good level of high school education with GCSE English and Maths or equivalent qualifications. These can often be replaced with functional skills courses if you do not meet the required standards. Functional skills courses do not have any entry requirements, and can be taken alongside the diplomas. The Level 2 courses can also be taken by candidates with no prior experience in care.
Will I need a work placement with an employer?
Although work placements can be a requirement at Level 3, placements are only ‘recommended’ at Level 2. Work placements can be hugely valuable for gaining experience and ultimately employment, but they are not necessary to complete the diplomas at Level 2.
Can my care certificate be counted towards a health and social care level 2 course?
The learning completed for the care certificate is recognised by NCFE CACHE and can be counted towards the Level 2 & 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care.
In fact, some providers of apprenticeships at Level 2 include the Care Certificate as part of their learner’s coursework.
If you have already completed a care certificate course, much of the content of the Level 2 courses will be familiar to you. The Level 2 diploma courses can be thought of as an extension of the learning completed with the care certificate, with additional subject areas such as the human body and anatomy & physiology.
Course structure and units
As mentioned previously, the Level 2 Certificate in Health and Social Care and Level 2 Extended Diploma in Health and Social care are nested. This means the certificate can be used to form part of the diploma and shares the same content.
Learners must complete 3 mandatory units as listed below for the certificate and 5 for the extended diploma. They must also complete 2 optional units for the extended diploma. Both these qualifications have largely replaced the NVQ Level 2 health and social care.
Mandatory units - certificate vs extended diploma
Since the two qualifications are nested, the units required for the certificate vs the extended diploma overlap.
While the mandatory units for the extended diploma are as follows, the certificate only requires the first three:
- Equality, diversity and rights in health and social care
- Human growth and development
- Safeguarding and protection in health and social care
- Communication in health and social care
- Working in health and social care
The following accordians give a brief description of each of the mandatory units.
The objective of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of equality, diversity, and rights within the context of health and social care. This includes recognizing and valuing the diverse needs, backgrounds, and identities of individuals accessing care, understanding the principles of equality and anti-discrimination, and promoting inclusive practices that respect and protect the rights of all individuals. The unit also aims to develop awareness of relevant legislation and policies that safeguard equality, diversity, and rights in healthcare and social care settings.
The objective of this unit is to equip learners with comprehensive knowledge and understanding of human growth and development throughout the lifespan. This includes the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social aspects of development from infancy through adulthood and into older age. The unit aims to explore the factors that influence and shape human development, such as genetics, environment, and life experiences. Additionally, it seeks to provide insights into the theories and milestones associated with different stages of development, as well as the implications for health and social care practice.
The objective of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of safeguarding and protection in the context of health and social care, with a particular focus on children, young people, and adults. This includes recognizing and responding to signs of abuse, understanding the legal and ethical responsibilities for safeguarding, and implementing effective strategies to prevent harm and promote the well-being of vulnerable individuals. The unit also aims to provide awareness of relevant policies, procedures, and support systems in place to ensure the safety and protection of those receiving care.
The objective of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of communication within the context of health and social care. This includes developing effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills, understanding the importance of active listening, and recognizing and overcoming barriers to effective communication. The unit aims to explore the different communication techniques and strategies used in health and social care settings, including the use of technology, cultural sensitivity, and adapting communication for diverse individuals and situations. It also focuses on the ethical considerations and confidentiality requirements associated with communication in these contexts.
The objective of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of working in the field of health and social care. This includes exploring the roles, responsibilities, and key principles of practice within the sector. The unit aims to provide learners with an understanding of the importance of person-centered care, effective teamwork and collaboration, and maintaining professional boundaries. Additionally, it covers relevant legal and ethical considerations, as well as the importance of continuous professional development and reflective practice in delivering high-quality care. The unit also aims to provide insights into the various career pathways and opportunities within the health and social care sector.
Optional units for the extended diploma
The following accordian lists the optional units required for the extended diploma, of which 2 are required. Some learning providers will allow a choice of any of these, while others will only deliver a limited range to suit their target audience.
This unit will equip learners with comprehensive knowledge and comprehension of the structure and function of the human body’s anatomy and physiology.
The aim of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of prevalent medical conditions and disorders related to caregiving.
The objective of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of various creative activities within the context of health and social care.
This unit will equip learners with knowledge and understanding of dementia, including its causes, symptoms, and impact on individuals and their caregivers.
The objective of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of end-of-life care, including the principles, practices, and emotional considerations involved in providing support and comfort to individuals nearing the end of their lives.
The aim of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of health and well-being, including the factors that contribute to overall health, strategies for maintaining well-being, and the importance of promoting a holistic approach to health in various contexts.
This unit will equip learners with knowledge and understanding of infection prevention and control practices within the context of health and social care. This includes the identification and management of infectious diseases, implementation of preventive measures, and maintaining a safe and hygienic environment to minimize the risk of transmission.
The objective of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of learning disabilities, including their causes, characteristics, and the impact they have on individuals. It also aims to provide insight into effective strategies for supporting individuals with learning disabilities and promoting their inclusion and well-being in various settings.
The aim of this unit is to equip learners with knowledge and understanding of mental health and well-being, including the factors that contribute to mental well-being, common mental health conditions, and the impact of mental health on individuals and society. It also aims to promote awareness of strategies and resources for promoting mental well-being, as well as reducing stigma and providing appropriate support for individuals experiencing mental health challenges.
This unit will equip learners with knowledge and understanding of nutrition within the context of health and social care. This includes understanding the role of nutrition in maintaining overall health, the principles of a balanced diet, and the specific nutritional needs of different individuals, such as infants, children, older adults, and individuals with specific health conditions. The unit also aims to provide insight into promoting healthy eating habits and supporting individuals in making informed dietary choices.